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The Invention of the Modern Movement

Giorgio Ciucci
Translated by Stephen Smtarelli

1 (frontispiece) TJ,:nz ClAM, Between 1925 and 1928, in only three years, there
B>ussels, 1980: 1) Max E-1rwt Haefeli, emerged in Europe the idea that in the field of architec- 553
2) Richard Neutra, 3) Elena Syrkus, ture an "irreversible" transformation had taken place, one
!,) Come/Jus van Eesteren, 5) Henry which no longer concerned only small avant-garde groups
vcm de Velde, 6) Mies 'Van derRohe, but had actually taken shape in the public mind in numer-
7) Km{ Maser, 8) Sigj1ied G1:edion, ous countries, If Waiter Gropius proclaimed the birth of
9) Gino Pollini, 10) Piero Bottoni, an Intemationale Architektur in 1925, it was still thought
11) Rudo(f Steiger, 12) Victo1 necessary to prepare new instruments for exchanging,
Bourgeois, 13) Cm{ Hubacher, comparing, and testing ideas and positions: some reviews
14) Gab1iel Guevrekian, 15) Jose- closed down (L'Esp1it Nouveau in 1925, De Stjil and ABC
Lluis Sert, 16) Madame de Mcmdl'ot, in 1928), while others opened up (in 1926, Die Forrn, the
17) Garcia Mercadal, 18) Le C01busier, publication of the Deutscher Werkbund, as well as Das
19) Pie1'1'e Jeanneret, 20) A, Boeken, Neue Frankfurt). In 1927, the Stuttgart publisher Julius
21) Waiter Gmpius, 22) HugoHaring, Hoffmann inaugurated a new series, Die Baubiicher, and
that same year saw the publication of Richard J, N eutra's
Wie Baut Ame1ika? and Ludwig Hilberseimer's Inter-
nationale neue Baukunst and Grossstadtarchitekbw. In
1926 the "Ring" group was reorganized, inspiring the
Weissenhof enterprise in Stuttgart (1927). In Italy
"Gruppo 7" was formed in 1926; at Frankfurt in 1925, the
Stadtbaudezenwnt of Ernst May invited non-Gerrnan ar-
chitects to plan several districts of the neue Frankfwt;
while in 1928 in the Soviet Union the competition for the
Centrosoyuz was won by Le Cmbusier, Also in 1928 came
Gropius's decision to leave the Bauhaus, a move that was
indicative of his professional concerns and made possible
by the new cultural climate. The summoning of an inter-
national congress of modern architecture in 1928 seemed
to confirm a "unity of goals," whose most solid and tan-
gible result was precisely that "irreversible transforma-
tion" of architecture as a whole.

A sense of this unity of intentions and of architectural

languages has induced many architectural historians to
look for similarly unified, common foundations in the de-
velopment of modern architecture, starting with a new
role for the architect within society, a new professional
figure who was to work toward the construction and or-
ganization of the living space of city inhabitants, and who
would become aware of this new professionalism precisely
in the latter half of the 1920s. This new understanding of
construction and organization, involving a "reform" of the
city and therefore of society, has induced historians to
554 formulate a coherent line of development for "modern" same way Leonardo Benevolo, in defending the validity
architecture that takes into account the social imperative of the Athens ClwTte>, presented it as the most impOJt'tant,
of the architect joined to a commitment which, even when product of an effort of research and study which,
not directly or indirectly public, grows out of an enlight- in 1928 with the founding of the ClAM, had developed
ened vision of society. Enlightened, that is, from a social the vmious Cong1esses according to the following
point of view, as in the case of the great industrialists, or gression: from the general unifying principles
from a cultural point of view, as in the case of private ClAM), to the problem of Existenzminimwn ho11sino<
i citizens. (second ClAM), to the rational district (third ClAM),
.. I the rational city (fourth ClAM). 4 This is a prc>gJ'<'ssion
This line of development, initially traced by Nikolaus Pev- which, though it may have existed in the
sner in 1936 in his Pioneen of the Modem Movement .fmm of the Congress participants, does not In fact reflect
,. William Mmis to Walte> Gmpius, has remained, despite real debate that opened up within these Congresses
' vm~ations and adjustments, essentially unchanged up to tween 1928 and 1933.
the present day, although many have pointed out the need
to verify that unity of goals and languages which has come Similarly, it has often been uncritically repeated that
to be included generically in the formula "Modern Move- general principles elaborated at the first meeting in
ment."1 Sarraz were the direct result of the success enjoyed
the Weissenhof-which was fostered by the
One of the focal points for the construction of the tradi- Werkbund and directed by Mies van der Rohe, and
tional ideology of the Modern Movement is without doubt which the unity of goals and languages seemed un.qn<,s-
the development of the ClAMs, the Cong1es Internation- tionable5-as well as of the consensus among modern ar-
aux de !'Architecture Moderne. Historians have tended to chitects in condemning the decision of the jury in the
see in these Congresses a progression, starting with the competition for the palace of the League of Nations in
fust meeting at La Sarraz in 1928, through the 1929 Geneva-which had rejected Le Cmbusier's project only
Frankfurt Cong1ess and the 1930 Brussels Congress, up to entrust the task of construction to five "academic" ar-
to the long celebrated voyage between Marseilles and chitects.
Athens in 1933 on the boat the Pabis II. The result of
this latter Congress was the formulation of an "urbanistic At this point it might be of interest to reexamine hviiPfl~
charter," named, in 1962, the Athens Chm1e1'. some of the events that took place between these
episodes and the first ClAMs. Without pretending to
In the immediate postwar period this Chmte1' was to come construct a "true" and "complete" history, which in
under discussion in the ClAM itself, when the "old guard," case is impossible, I should like only to underline sP\rPr:ll
which wanted to test through concrete application the points, examine a few facts, make comparisons and
methods of participation presented in the Athens Chm1e1', gest relationships, discuss traditional hypotheses, and
found itself confronted by the younger members of Team to find connections that are not already taken for g-r:mted,
10, for whom the Athens ChaTteT was "too rigid" and full By following and making use of, when necessary, cmote:m-
of "categorical imperatives," and gave no consideration, porary archival research, it will be possible to recorrsHier
in its "mechanical concepts of order," to "the responsibility historically a debate cut short more by economic
for the creation of order through form [and to the] re- !ems, technological realities, and ideological dif''ferences
sponsibility for each act of creation, however smalL" 2 This than by Nazism, Fascism, or Stalinism. It is a debat;e,
conflict led finally to the disbanding and the end of the which ranges from the meaning of architecture to the
ClAMs,' but it, too, in attacking the Modern Movement, of the architect, from aesthetic problems to moral beJrer:s,,
also created a unified and homogeneous image of it. In the from political ideas to social attitudes.
The Weissenhof district undoubtedly represented a mo- was Gropius, who only a few weeks before the start of the
ment of testing and comparing new ideas and languages. Congress had left the Bauhaus to Hannes Meyer without
However, the unity of goals and languages of which the succeeding in having Mies declared his successor.
historians have spoken is in fact fictitious and exists only
among a few individual architects. For this reason, the The Weissenhof and the first ClAM, rather than repre-
absence of some architects and the presence of others senting the aggregation and institutionalization of modern
among the Weissenhof planners is significant: out of six- architects, were more like obligatory episodes in which
teen, seven belonged to the "Ring" and five were foreign- each participant played his own hand, where many did
ers (Le Cmbusier, J. J. P. Oud, Mart Stam, Victor Bour- not have clear ideas, and where positions were only g1ad-
geois, J osef Frank); missing were Hannes Meyer and ually defined although they sometimes led to irreparable
Hans Schmidt, who together with Stam and El Lissitzky splits. On the other hand, the fact that older architects-
put out the review ABC; also missing were Ernst May such as Tony Garnier (born 1869), Auguste Perret (born
and Otto Haesler, both of the "Ring" but at that time 1874), Karl Maser (born 1860), and H. P. Berlage (born
occupied in Frankfurt and Celle, respectively. The Berlin 1856)-were invited to the first ClAM helps clarify
group was thus dominant in the Weissenhof project, Raring's claims regarding the avant-garde role of the
while, contrary to Sigfried Giedion's assertions, r; aesthetic "Ring" and his request for space in a congress on modern
concerns prevailed over the new ways of considering the architecture, whose participants all belonged to a gener-
housing problem and despite the prominence of urbanistic ation which included Haring himself (at forty-six the "old-
concerns. 7 The variety of solutions itself counters any est" of this generation) and Alberta Sartoris (the youngest
illusion of a unity in the research on minimum typologies of the Congress at twenty-seven). 11
or on aggTegated elements. Ernst May's criticism of the
houses built by Le Cmbusier for the Weissenhof, in which At La Sarraz, the only one to represent the past gener-
he said that they were too radical ("But who should inhabit ation was Berlage, who was seventy-two, and his presence
those houses?" asked May), complements that of Lis- there was virtually proof of the continuity between gen-
sitzky, who, even while extolling Le Cmbusier's talent, erations that the Congress had hoped to assert. Moreover,
denounced its "antisocial, individualistic origins," and crit- his invitation was an homage to the firm position he had
icized this "architecture of appearance" and this "system taken as a jury member in favor of Le Cmbusier in the
[which leads] to results diametrically opposed to our vision final vote on the projects presented at the competition for
of the world."" the palace of the League of Nations at Geneva. The other
vote in favor of Le Cmbusier, cast by the Swiss architect
On the other hand, one need only compare the architects Karl Maser, had consolidated this idea of continuity be-
of the Weissenhof to the participants in the first meeting tween generations, to the point that Maser, although not
at La Sarraz to realize that although there undoubtedly present at La Sarraz, was appointed honorary president
are connections between the two events, there are also of the Congress.
profound differences. 9 Thus, among the Weissenhof par-
ticipants, apart from Le Cmbusier, only Stam, Frank, Berlage, like Maser, remained a point of reference only
and Bourgeois (note, all foreigners) were present at La at this first meeting: in 1930, at the third ClAM, when
Sarraz, and of the "Ring" group, only the secretary Hugo V an Eesteren succeeded Maser to the presidency, Berlage
Raring and Ernst May were present, both of whom were submitted an entry for the exhibition developing the
absent from Stuttgart. But their presence here was prob- Transvaalbuurt in Amsterdam, accompanied by these
ably a decision made by the group to offset the letter sent words: "transposition of the forms of past cities into the
by Mies to the Congress, in which he curtly declined the modern city, game of forms, lack of a constructional cli-
invitation to participate. 10 Also absent from La Sarraz rection applied to the period." From this brief example
Congres Preparatoire
556 d'Architecture Moderne
au Chateau de la Sarraz
(Camon de Vaud, Sui,.e)

J, 26, 27 et 28 juin 1928

Ce premier congr<:1 eot convoque dans le but d'etablir

un programme gCneral d'action ayant pour obiet d'arracher
l'architectUTe 1t I' impasse academique et de la menre daru
'"" vCritable milieu c!conomique et social. Ce congrh doit,


First ClAM, La Sarraz, 5 Standing, l. tor.: Stan~, Chareau, 6 Standing, l. tor.: Bourgeois,
Switzerland, 1928 Bourgeois, Haefeli, Jeanneret, Sartoris, ?, Zavala, Weber,?,
2 Sketch illustmting the six Rietvelcl, Steiger, May (half face), Berlage, Lw9at, de Mancl1at, von
questions established by Le Smtoris, Guevrekian, Sch.Jniclt, der Miihll, Guevrekian, Meye1,
Corbusie1. Htiring, Zavala, Florentin, Le Rietveld, Maser, Steiger, Siam (with
3, 4 P1'0gmm. Final and drqft Corbusier, Artc~ria, de Mandrot, lampshade). Sitting: Mercaclal,
copzes. Gubler, Roclwt, Lur9at, von elm Haste.
Miihll, Maggioni, Haste, Gieclion,
Maser, Fmnk. Sitting: Mercaclal,
Weber, Tadevossian.

558 we can already discern, within the ClAMs, positions that an outdated luxury to the detriment of the more im]portan
renounced in some way the guiding role of ce1tain mas- tasks of urbanism and housing." 13
ters. The instrumental use of Maser and Berlage takes us
back to the second event that has always been associated If we bear in mind Le Cmbusier's polemic regarding
with the founding of the ClAMs, the competition for the competition, which was based on an aesthetic critique
palace of the League of Nations. This affair, which has an evaluation of costs-the latter always very high
already been sufficiently studied, 12 took place between academic projects-the above paragraph will be seen
1926 and 1927, with a continuation in 1928-1929. In the reflect this polemic in a clear manner. But what also
first phase, Le Cmbusier was on the verge of victory through is the goal of the polemic: to establish a
when he was defeated. Nevertheless the game continued, relationship with the power of the State, which for
for two principal reasons: the final project was to be the Cmbusier was the entity to which all of the efforts of
result of the common efforts of the five winning architects, ClAMs should be addressed. In the large colored
and therefore a definitive project had not yet been arrived that welcomed the pmticipants into the castle of La
at; moreover, in September of 1928 the projected location raz, Le Cmbusier had indicated even more explicitly
of the palace was changed from the banks of the lake to role of the ClAMs: it was an organization which, thJcouleli
a site slightly more inland, the Ariana, thus necessitating the Haut Comite International de !'Extension
a variation in the project being carried out. This final I' Architecture a l'Economique et au Social \!~~~!~~~~~
episode, which took place shortly after the La Sarraz and the Comite Central International des (
Congress, provoked a letter from Madame de Mandrot, N ationaux de I' Architecture Mod erne
the hostess of La Sarraz, in which she requested that they should align itself with the special iJ'JstJitutioJos--B:ureau
accept for the project the architects who, although hon- International de Travail (BIT), Institut International
ored with awards, had not participated in the final project: la Cooperation Intellectuelle (IICI), Institut lnterrmtiom1l:
this was of course an unmistakable invitation to reconsider d'Organisation Scientifique du Travail (IIOST)-which,
Le Cmbusier's project one more time. A few months later, autonomous bodies, worked for the League of N
in April of 1929, all possibilities for Le Cmbusier's partic- with the task of developing international cooperation
ipation were defeated. particular fields. In the large colored panel all of
organizations come together in a crenellated tower
However, despite Le Cmbusier's attempts to introduce, bolizing the State, that authority which
from the start, the subject of the Geneva competition as that time Le Cmbusier saw as the political power
a topic of discussion at La Sarraz, it would be unfair to capable of realizing the technician's ideas.
believe that he manipulated the first Congress to serve
his own ends. The aim of his polemic was more general: The two themes of the academy and the relationship
the attack upon the "academies," which appears both in tween architecture and the State take us right into
the initial program and in the final declaration of La Sar- atmosphere of the fu'St CongTess. The debate, on
raz, had as its goal to strip these "academies" of a good J acques Gubler and Martin Steinmann have written
deal of the "ascendancy" which monumental architecture great length, 14 was impassioned. But the co11fron1tations
exerts on political power in society. Paragraph 5 of Article that took place were precisely the factors which, on
IV of the final declaration drawn up at La Sarraz, titled one hand, gave substance to the Congress and on
"L' Architecture et ses rappmts avec l'Etat" ("Architec- other brought out the differences within and rli'f'fment
ture and Its Relations with the State") reads, perspectives on the Cong1ess itself as well as on Le
"5. Academicism seduces governments into spending con- busier's actions.
siderable sums for the construction of monumental edif-
ices, against the dictates of wise management, flaunting The discussion focused in particular on four
issues which Le Cmbusier presented to the participants: organize the functions of collective living. In addition,
"The Architectural Consequences of Modern Technology," with regard to the themes which Le Cmbusier would later
"Standardization," "General Economics," and "Urban- specify as the functions of urbanism-that is, inhabiting,
ism," while the problems of "Domestic Education in Pri- work, recreation, circulation-these architects, pmticu-
mary Schools" and the "Relationships between Architec- larly Stam, placed the emphasis on the organization of
ture and the State" were dealt with only in passing, in transportation as the base of the territorial order. More-
spite of the fact that Berlage's lecture was concerned with over, in reaction to the formal elements so important to
precisely this latter issue. In the final declaration, both Le Cmbusier, the "five points of a new architecture"-
these latter issues were treated in much the same way as that is, in reaction to the introduction of a form that would
they had been presented by Le Cmbusier in the intro- modify the structure of the city and elements that would
ductory statement, while the first four points were con- set the terms for the standardization of the building in-
densed, with considerable changes from their earlier for- dustry and direct industrial organization-Slam, Schmidt,
mulation, into two: "General Economics" and "Urbanism." and the other "radical" architects fought for the eradica-
tion of aesthetic convictions in urbanism and the building
The debate, therefore, was principally concerned with the industry: we must replace aesthetic concerns, they de-
themes of economics, urbanism, the meaning of architec- clared, with more general interests.
ture, and the role of the architect: on one side we have
the figure of Le Cmbusier, who drew up the progmm, J acques Gubler has already pointed out some of the dif-
flanked by, among others, Andre Lur~at, Alberto Sarto- ferences between the articles of the initial progTam drawn
ris, Pierre Chareau, and the Spaniard, A. J. Mercadal; on up by Le Cmbusier and the final declaration, using as an
the other side the antagonists seem to have been Stam, example the disparity between the respective paragTaphs
Schmidt, and Meyer, who shortly before had closed down on urbanism. 15 Venturing further in this direction, we can
the review ABC, asserting in the final issue their com- see a difference, almost a second version, simply by com-
mitrr<ert to carry on elsewhere their denunciations of the paring the German text with the French one, especially
cm1tradictions of capitalist economics and industry. in the first section, which is in fact the declaration of the
prog1am, to which are tied the four explanatory points.
the name of a social commitment, these three energet- In the French text one reads,
opposed the position represented by Le Cmbusier "Aware of the profound disturbances that mechanization
the large colored panel. Against Le Cmbusier, who has brought upon the social structure, [the participants in
point<'d to a strong State as the ultimate goal to which the the Cong1ess] recognize that the transformation of the
ettori'.R of the CongTesses should strive, they proposed a economic order and the present way of life inevitably
of action aimed at changing the structures of so- involve a corresponding transformation of the phenome-
In opposition to Le Cmbusier's talk of mechaniza- non of architecture.
Stam, Schmidt, and Meyer asserted the importance "The common purpose that brings them all together here
the collective nature of society and class conflict. In is that of achieving the indispensable and urgent harmo-
re1;pcmse to the need to recuperate the surplus value of nization of the elements that 'Ire present, by putting ar-
through adequate legislation, as Le Cmbusier himself chitecture back into its real sphere, which is the economic
pr<JPC>Se<:!, these three went so far as to demand the abo- and sociological sphere; for this reason architecture must
of land revenue altogether; as an alternative to ur- be torn away from the sterilizing g1ip of the academies,
uaiusin as an instance of reform (the preference of many the preservers of outdated formulas."
this debate), or as an alternative to urbanism as a step
rearranging the city's appearance, these three Here is the corresponding German text:
pr<Jpc>sed an urbanism as pure technique, which would "... [The participants in the Congress] are well aware of
Second ClAM, Frankfurt. Octo~1er.
7 Book coveT, Die Wohnung fiir das
Existenzminimum (Stuttgm-t, 1933).
8 "Die Wohnung fu? das
Existenzntini'ln'U1n" exhibition.
9 L. toT.: GuevTekian, Le
CoTbusieT, Giedion, JeanneTet.
10-13 Examples of house types
shown in the exhibition.



~~~~"~OtU'-'( 220, 1M'


562 the fact that the structural changes carried out in society the present-day realities of industrial technology,
are also carried out in architecture, and that the transfor- though such a course of action will probably lead to
mation of the norms comprising our whole intellectual life fundamentally different from those of past epochs."
applies as well to the concepts comprising architecture.
Because this becomes so evident to them, they turn their In the German version we fin,d some similar phrases,
particular attention to the new materials for construction, different ones, and, on the whole, concepts of a d:'ifferer
the new constructions, and the new methods of produc- order:
tion; aud they address their concerns to all the problems "6. The demands made today on production have not
which, in the realm of their profession, make one hope become much greater than in the past-production
that their work should progress." has changed so much that today we no longer have
reckon with past production organized by guilds, but
In the German version, the French text's emphasis on present production organized by industry.
mechanization has disappeared, as well as its emphasis "7. The undermining of artisanry through the abolition
on the cause and effect relationship between mechaniza- craftsmen's guilds resulted in the profound di'o:or1>ar1i7.o
tion and social transformation, a theme very important to tiou of the building trade. This disorganization necessi
Le Corbusier, who in the initial propam had precisely tated the regulation of the building trade through
stated that iron and cement were the most efficient means laws. The industrial development which today is
for realizing an architecture and an urbanism correspond- itself felt requires a restructuring of these building
ing to the profound social and economic revolution brought because on the one hand industry deniands the freedonf
about by mechanization. And contrary to the idea of "put- of movement necessary to technological development,
ting architecture back" into the economic and sociological because on the other hand industry itself provides
sphere, the German text asserts that architecture is an necessary regulation of its products (standards of qua111c.h
intepal part of the economic structure. factory brands)."

What is here reflected in the two texts is not simply a In this case as well, we see that in the German version?
difference in the use of words-although this too would any hint of the notion that the "inevitable result of
be indicative of the fundamental difference-but differing anization has been the new industrial methods" has
conceptions of society. In this light, paragTaphs 6 and 7 appeared, while the considerations on the outdated
of the "General Economics" section 16 are significant and ceptions of architecture tied to artisanry become, in
illuminating. German text, a more general observation on past nr<JChlc~:
tion organized by guilds; in addition, the present-day
The French version reads as follows: alities on which architecture must base itself becmne
"6. The collapse of artisanry following the dissolution of "present production organized by industry."
the guilds is a fait accompli. The inevitable result of more, in the German text we do not find any of the
mechanization has been the new methods of industry, ments present in the French concerning that COJ1CE1ption
which are different from and often opposed to those of of architecture which, because of the academies, was
artisanry. Until recently the concept of architecture, be- inspired by the methods of mtisanry than by the methccls,
cause of the teaching of the academies, was more directly of industry-and which would explain the d~;;~~~;~~.~~;~:
inspired by the methods of artisanry than by the new of the art of building; in the German text, the
industrial methods. This contradiction explains the pro- zation of the building trade, the consequence of the
found disorganization of the art of building. lition of the guilds, was overcome by legal regulation:
"7. It is urgent that architecture abandon outdated con- therefore, the text states, industrial development led
ceptions tied to artisanry and base itself henceforth on the reorganization of building laws because of the
for freedom in technological development and regulation selves faced with a limitation which we can overcome only
in production. by furthering the rational and planned organization of 563
social life in general, through the collective management
We could continue to enumerate the differences between of production, land use, and urbanism." 18
these two texts, especially with regard to the architect's
role, which in the French text is understood to be that of Schmidt's political evaluation differed from that of Le
a technician who, in associating himself with industry, Corbusier, and it was accompanied by a different idea of
moves beyond the academic tradition, while in the German industrialization.
version the problem is rather how to fit him into the
productive process. But I think that the heart of the In the program for the first Congress, Le Cmbusier had
conflict should by now be clear. written,
" ... construction has been industrialized and most aspects
For Le Cmbusier, transformation in architecture had to of the masonry are done in the factory and later tlans-
correspond to economic transformations: the house could ported to the construction site for assembly: Such is the
be produced like an automobile; the new technology re- solution of the 'maison a sec' . . . it seems wrong to
quired an architectonic unit based on an autonomous produce in the factory (by standardization) a type of house.
framework which freed the ground plane (pilotis), per- This is nipping architecture in the bud.
mitted the standardization of the elements (and hence the "One should produce in the factory (by standardization) a
industrialization of the building trade) independently of 1esidential unit, which is a complete element of the struc-
the interior distribution of the building (free plan) and tural system (beams and floor boards), whose measure-
independently of the load-bearing walls (free facade); this ments are chosen in such a way as to allow useful and
made possible the introduction of the feniJtTe en longueuT varied interior arrangements. " 19
and thus made the roof superstructure unnecessary (giv-
ing rise to the roof plans, whence the roof garden). 17 These Maison Dom-ino and Maison Citrohan (let us not forget
five points developed by Le Cmbusier were "objectively" that one of the two houses built by Le Cmbusier at the
the result of the new technology and industrial materials, Weissenhof was a Citrohan) were the proposals implicitly
and they made the architectonic unit possible. For others, presented in the discussion at La Sarraz; but Schmidt, in
particularly Hans Schmidt, the problem of form was sec- a passage written for the "neues Bauen" exhibition, re-
ondary: technology was inexorable; it was entirely logi- duced the idea behind these houses to a search for the
cally and rationally determined, and the only problem was standardized house, where standardization meant unvm'y-
that of finding an optimal use for the technical knowledge ing and optimized selection, designed to include all the
of building. In 1928, Schmidt wrote, essentials which could be put in a catalogue.
"The defects in the present-day building trade are for the
most part the inevitable consequence of the costly ineffi- It therefore may not be surprising that at a certain point
ciency of the work done on the construction site. It is in the discussion at La Sarraz Le Cmbusier should have
therefore in our best interests to have the initial, most wanted to abandon the Congress, or that, writing in 1933
important part of construction work done in the factory. about the attack of the "Germans" at that first Congress,
This idea has almost unlimited possibilities in the case of he should say, "I did not accept definitions that would
the standardized house furnished by a warehouse and obscure the truth of architecture." 20
according to a catalogue .... But the premise here is the
single house. A fundamental tendency of contemporary The differences that were manifest at that first meeting
life, however, is to do away with individual ownership of seemed to fade during the course of the second ClAM,
the house .... For the moment, therefore, we find our- which was held at Frankfurt from the twenty-fourth to


I..,..___ --
Third ClAM, Brussels. November, 16 Book coveT, Rationelle
1930 Bebauungweisen (StuttgaTt, 1931).
14, 15 "Rationelle Bebauungweisen" 17 "Rationelle Bebauungsweisen"
exhibition. Planning proposals for exhibition. HeTbmt Boehm and
Abo, Finland, by Alvm Aalto and Eugen Kaufrnann's studies of
for Ui1echt, Holland, by Ge,~t building costs for two- to twelve-
Rietveld. s tO?'?! building types.

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18 Third ClAM. Reunion in
Ba,celona, Mmch, 1932.

the twenty-sixth of October, 1929, and revolved

a precise theme: Die Wohmmg juT das 1'-'":i':;te:tz>ni>zirn
("Existenzminirmcm" housing). The choice of
as the site for the Congress, attributable to Ernst
irreversibly tied this ClAM to the experiment that
had conducted as Stadtbaudezement of the city. But
second Congress also had another peculiarity: the
of Le Cmbusier, who was traveling in South
during the course of its proceedings.

1929 was an important year for Le Cmbusier: the ,.ono''''

possibility of his taking part in the project for the
of the League of Nations (January 1929) and the
quent refusal (September 1929) of the ClAM leaders
support his polemic regarding the competition;" the
ect for the Mundaneum, which came out of Paul
idea to build a world center of science, information,
education serving international organizations and
fore complementary to the purpose of the League of
tions; the subsequent plan for the "world city,"
included, in addition to the palace of the League of
18 and the Mundaneum, the "economic city," the
city," and the "cite hotelie1e" northwest of the
Park (February 1929); the contract to build the ~~-.
soyuz in Moscow (May 1929), and the subsequent trip
the U.S.S.R. (June 1929); the long sojourn in South
ica, from October to December, where he held cm1fere11ce:
in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Sao Paolo, and Rio,
where he executed, from a hydroplane and from an
plane, the famous designs for those cities: all this inspixet
him to write, at the close of his 1930 book p,.eci:>i01Zs"'--'
which contains the text and the dxawings of the ten
nos Aires conferences, with an American prologue and
appendix on Paris and Moscow-the following note,
tied A parte:
"I believe that these ten Buenos Aires conferences will
the last ones for me on the subject of 'the ar<ohitec:tlca!
revolution c1eated by mode111 technology'.
"The world-Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, Rio, New
Pa1is, the U.S.S.R.-is straining toward the fulfillme:ni
of urgent tasks; it trembles at the hour of the 'arwvdS
tmvaux'. The Moment of G1eat Works is the theme
in my opinion, at present imposes itself on our rel~ec:ticms;
'THE PRESENT HOUR, or THE EQUIPPING OF between the time of that first preparatory meeting in 567
MECHANIZED CIVILIZATION', such is the book February 1930-when one finds gathered together with
which, before long, we should think fit to write." Le Cmbusier in his studio Victor Bourgeois (the third
Congress was to take place in Brussels under the auspices
The debate that developed, still in 1929, around the of Bourgeois, who with Ernst May had also become vice-
Frankfurt experiment and around German architecture in president of the ClAMs), Hans Schmidt, Mart Stam (both
general, was only relatively speaking of interest to Le entrusted with the task of preparations for the Congress),
Cmbusier, who otherwise had his sights on other goals. and Sigfried Giedion, the ClAM secretary-and Novem-
In April of the same year he wrote in Neue ZiiTcheT ber 27 of the same year, the first day of the Congress,
z eitung of "the recent attitude on the part of the German should itself be enough to give an idea of the difficulties,
architects who for a while have been preaching the prin- the unexpected changes, and the compromises in which
ciple of the usefulness of the 'new objectivity', ... with jnst about all of the major participants became involved.
an enthusiasm that verges on fanaticism." According to
Christian Borngraber, Le Cmbusier's manuscript also The first dates projected for the third Congress were from
contains the following sentence, later deleted in the actual the second to the fourth of October, 1930; the theme,
printing: "For a year or two I feel I have been denounced which became specified in the course of the preparatory
like a poet, like a lyric poet without rules, like a man lost meetings, was "Rationelle Bebau~(,ngsweisen" ("rational
in his time. " 23 building methods"). 2'

With the absence of Le Cmbusier at Frankfurt, the pres- In March, Le Cmbusier went to the Soviet Union, where
. ence of the young, intransigent faction became all the the work on the Centrosoyuz had begun; in May and June
,more visible. Gropius's general account of the proceedings he answered the questionnaire sent by Gorny on the trans-
was in part directly influenced by Hans Schmidt's notes formations of "Greater Moscow," and during the next two
for the topics of the second Congress, 24 which concerned months he prepared the plans that would become Ville
the aims and the realization of "Existenztninimum," hous- Radieuse and be published in 1935. On September 25,
ing. Mart Stam, who had just begun building the Alter- during an important meeting of ClAM delegates, Le Cor-
sheim complex in Frankfurt (with Pieter L. Kramer and busier suggested presenting these plans in a special ex-
Werner Maser) and planning the Siedllmg Hellerhof, was hibition at the third Congress, but Gropius and other
the head of the commission in charge of the exhibition on delegates deemed it inappropriate that such an exposition
"Die Wohnung fiir das Existenzminimum." This exhibi- be presented alongside, and contrasting with, the official
tion consisted of large panels on which were drawn the expositions on "Rationelle Bebauungsweisen." Le Cor~
plans of the dwellings, sometimes with minuscule sections busier might even have won out here if in fact, at that
and generally with schematic site plans, and with no ref- September meeting, the problems had not lain elsewhere:
erence to the facades or to formal solutions. Out of ninety- the question of whether or not to hold the Congress at all
seven plans for residences, the plan of the Maison Lou- was under consideration. In fact, less than two weeks
cheur (and a variation thereof) was the only work of Le before the initially established opening date of the Con-
Cmbusier's represented. It was therefore no surprise gress, the situation was unexpectedly and completely
when Le Corbusier, at the February 1930 meeting in changed.
which the arrangements for the third ClAM were decided
upon, was rather critical of the results of the Frankfurt On August 1, Hannes Meyer had left the Bauhaus27 and
Congress. 25 his place was taken by Mies. Less than two and a half
months later, Meyer left Germany for the Soviet Union.
A chronology of the events that followed one another But he was not the only one to leave: around the same .
Fourth ClAM, Patris IllAthens. 25, 26 Le Cmbusier's sketches
July/August, 1933 on board the Pat?~s II. They
19-22 J money fiorn M mseilles to illustrate his therne of "air-sound-
Athens aboaid the Pat?~s II. light" developed as a lectwe.
23 Le Cmbusier aboard the PatJ~s
24 Fmrn l. to r.: Le Cmbusier,
Sapm'ta, Termgni, Bottoni (in
fmnt), Renata Pollini.


I {


Fourth ClAM, Patris II!Athens.
July!August, 1933
27 Cover design by Herbert Bayer
for Jose Lluis Smi's book "Can Ou1
Cities Swvive?" which dealt with
the issues mised at the fowth
ClAM, 1933. It was not published.
28 Table of population and
industrial pollution in Dessau
p1epared by Bauhaus students and
p1esented in the "Functional City"
exhibition, fowih ClAM.

Ernst May left Frankfurt for Moscow, and joining debate at the Brussels ClAM toward the problem of the
were about twenty collaborators, among whom were administration of urban development as implemented 571
Stam and Hans Schmidt. This abandonment of Ger- through town planning schemes: the problems of the pre-
for the Soviet Union was one of the repercussions liminary surveys, of statistical studies on population and
the crisis of 1929, which by now had begun to affect all housing, of collective needs, etc., all found a first definition
Europe, closing off too many areas for the solid com- in the Amsterdam plan.
micrn"" of architects like Hannes Meyer, Ernst May and
gToup, Hans Schmidt, and Mart Stam to be sustained. The official request, made at the close of the Congress, to
men chose to work in a situation that they deemed hold the fourth ClAM in Moscow; the assumption of the
congenial, where they thought it possible to fit the responsibility for this next meeting by May, who in June
dv1el:lin1~-city relationship into a comprehensive economic of 1931 spoke in Berlin of his own expedences in the
plan, and where theoretical debate was not an impediment U.S.S.R., where he had met with great success;'n the
to practice. 28 entrusting of the preparation for the Moscow Congress to
Schmidt once again-all these facts seem to indicate a
The September 25 meeting at Frankfurt, in the wake of desire to reestablish unity between the divergent ele-
the news of the imminent departure for the U.S.S.R. of ments of the first ClAMs, or at least to resume the debate
those who had been in charge of preparations for the which seemed to have been interrupted. But instead, the
Congress, therefore had to address this situation and de- very choice of Moscow as the site of the Congress would
termine its implications, to reorganize the CongTess, and be the factor to aggTavate that tension which from the
to revise the program: for practical reasons, they decided start had created conflicts at La Sarraz. Conflicting posi-
to favor the theme of "small, medium, or tall houses," a tions became more firmly entrenched, and the event of
subject already tJeated by Gropius in his lecture at the the competition for the Palace of the Soviets heightened,
second ClAM. 29 with the victory of Boris lofan's "academic" project, dif-
ferences regarding the understanding of what themes and
The connection between the second and third ClAMs was preferences should be given expression by the Congress.
therefore somewhat different and certainly more limited The outcome of the competition proved to be only a sign,
than what had originally been desired, especially in terms although an important one, of the complex situation taking
of expanding and developing the theme of E xistenzmini- shape in the Soviet Union at the moment in which the
mum into a debate on rational methods of construction. slogan "Socialism under one state" implied the revival of
On the other hand, Le Cmbusier's explicit cdtique, pre- an indigenous and therefore Teal matrix of expression and
sented at the Congress held at Brussels from November a rejection of the "unreal" images that came from or even
27 to 29, pointed out how the theme of "small, medium, simply referred to the West. 32
or tall houses," compared to the questions of Existenz-
minimum or to that of rational methods of construction, The European architects wor .. 'ng in the Soviet Union
did not fall within the range of his present interests. 30 increasingly began to feel themselves to be participants
in a planning process with definite ties to political power,
The absence of May brought Gropius, together with Bour- while the various forms that power was beginning to as-
geois, to the vice-presidency. The presidency was as- sume in Europe did not help to clarify such ties. Only Le
sumed by Van Eesteren, who as chief of the urban plan- Cmbusier seemed to have taken a firm position, distin-
ning department of Amsterdam was in the process of guishing in the architect the technician who worked out
preparing the plan for that city. ideas, programs, and plans, all to be passed on to the
"authority" which must realize them. It was the same idea
Van Eesteren's presence served to orient the subsequent that was expressed at the first ClAM at La Sarraz in the
large colmed panel which represented the State as the Despite the numerous and significant absences, the
72 interlocutor to whom one must appeaL of "modern" architecture and urbanism, starting with
Athens Congress, began to take shape according to
In response to the suggestions expressed by Le Corbu- dencies directed more to mythifying events and mcnv:lCLU
sier, Giedion, and Van Eesteren for the fourth Congress, figures than to grasping the complexity of experience.
the Soviet architects and the European architects who ratification, a few years after, of the idea of the
were now living in the U.S.S.R. set down certain concli- Movement symbolized the suppression of any co11tradi
tions: they agreed to broach the subject of the "functional tions in favor of a unified vision devoid of compromise
city," which was to become in fact the primary concern of profound conflict. Thus was born the myth of the
the fourth ClAM, but they chose to center the debate on nuity of the ClAMs, which we have come to see as
the social forces that come together in the formation of a resenting a hypothetically interconnected sequence
city's built structures, and to prepare a plan for popula- themes running from the residential unit to the
tion, a plan for industry, and a plan for culture; they chose district to the city as a whole.
to. discuss, therefore, problems of cost, to address the
problem of infant mortality, to examine political and social I believe it is important to remember Le Cm-busier's
structures in connection with urban planning. On the ture at Athens and how this fully reflected the irrep:nabl
other hand, they stated, whoever had it in mind to propose break that was established with those absent. Le
single models that would always be valid and applicable sier, using the terms of a questionnaire that had
in every social and political condition, and to adapt in prepared for the third ClAM, spoke of "air,"
particular the model of Amsterdam, would encounter dif- "light"; he opened his lecture to the Congress with
ficulty, not so much in changing the direction of the debate memory of the Acropolis, of the "irreducible truths"
as in modifying the procedure of participation to be used; covered during his 1911 "voyage to the East," and
thus, the Soviet proposals were miles away from the closed it by invoking the esprit which prevails over
"Mediterranean" hypothesis so dear to Le Cmbusier. place, the invisible thread that connects the ocean
passing by at sea (an allusion to Patris ll?) with
Every attempt at mediation, particularly that of Giedion Parthenon; the last words of his speech were an invibHm
and Van Eesteren, proved to be useless. In response to to his traveling companions to hasten "toward adverttmre
the continual postponements proposed by Moscow, it was beautiful adventure! Architecture and Urbanism."
decided to hold the fourth ClAM in another place, and the Cmbusier here decidedly broke with the various
choice was an ocean liner to cruise between Marseilles potheses advanced at the first ClAMs and,
and Athens. The story is already well known."' himself in the language of exact principles and infallibl
feelings, gave the floor to Van Eesteren, whose
It is however worthwhile to underline the fact that on the concerned technical matters. Van Eesteren presented
Pat?~s 11 the more intransigent faction which had enli- large-scale plan for testing the complex operation
vened the first Congresses was missing, and that Gropius place in Amsterdam and, at the same time, defined
as well was absent, whereas the visible presence of Swiss concrete purposes of the ClAMs.
and French architects (almost half of the participants)
reflected the predominant influence of Giedion and Le Through Van Eesteren's presentation, the Arnsterc.lan
Cmbusier in the sending out of invitations. The echoes of plan became symbolic of the sort of activity
what was happening in many countries at this time seem ClAMs now intended to develop; it also represented
not to have reached the Congress. Le Cmbusier had by response to the positions taken by the European
now become the undisputed protagonist. tects who were working in the Soviet Union. The
than thirty plans for cities discussed at the fourth
gTess all were presented-in the drawings, in the range tened in the search for a balanced vision, a vision that
of planning priorities, in the use of preliminary investi- would be devoid of contradictions yet rich in compromises.
gations-in the same way as the Amsterdam plan. In fact, It was the beg-inning of the great myth of the Modern
the result of this ClAM, the Athens Charter, was the Movement, which explains and reconstructs events, in-
work of Le Cmbusier in terms of its general progTammatic cludes and synthesizes all positions, and finally becomes
outlines, while in terms of its more technical guidelines it a historical conjecture with its own beg-inning and its own
was bound up with Van Eesteren's work in Amsterdam. linear development, without breaks in continuity. It is a
historical conjecture within which there was room, and
Both Le Cmbusier's poetics and Van Eesteren's work of there still is today, for many "histories," however diverse
mediation between, on the one hand, architects tied to among themselves, which attempt to interpret, positively
the Mediterranean world and, on the other, German- or negatively, the unity, the meanings, the values, and
speaking architects therefore came to define the common the concepts of "modern" architecture, with the purpose
lines of development of "modern" architecture and urban- of providing a frame of reference within which to operate
ism. The assertion of the unity between architecture and and a "correct" line to follow, often neglecting the imprints
mbanism was taken up again in subsequent years, at the left behind by the various protagonists themselves, im-
1937 ClAM at Paris (still focused on the theme of the prints which sometimes lead us outside of the obligatory
"functional city") and later; Van Eesteren's Amsterdam paths which the various "histories" charted in the thick of
plan and Le Cmbusier's four points of urbanism were at events.
the center of the debate. When in 1935, in Amsterdam,
on the occasion of the exhibition on the "functional city"
prepared at the 1933 ClAM, Van Eesteren brought up
some of the themes treated at p1evious Congresses, he
mentioned neither the discussions which had been had
regarding such themes within the Congresses nor the
existing conflicts between the architects who had partici-
pated in these Congresses. Van Eesteren expressed the
conviction that a well-housed people possesses health and
a bright future, and he gave special emphasis to urban-
ism's solution to society's problems: "The lmowledg-e of
urbanism," he said, "[must be] the common heritage of
all, so that we mig-ht find the all-important balance be-
tween g-eneral interest and individual freedom .... The
architect of city-planning schemes must cooperate with
others. But the final form of the plan is given by the
architect. "3'1 The hypotheses concerning- the purpose of
architecture, the role of the architect, the master plan as
an element of equilibrium, were all taken up ag-ain on this
occasion, in the wake of what had been .concluded at Ath-
ens. The complexity of the problems, which had induced
a number of architects to come together at La Sarraz in
spite of the difference in their positions, as well as the
substance of the conflict, which had set certain young
"leftist" architects against Le Cmbusier, were now flat-

Source N ate: A shorter ve1'S'ion ofth'is article appeared in Italian Weimar Germany.
574 in Casabella 4631464, Nov./Dec. 1980.-Ed. 8. Cf. C. BorngTaber, "Le Cmbusier a Mosca," Rassegna,
1. See, on the fonnation of the myth of the Modern Movement, I!, no. 3, July 1980, pp. 79-88, in particular p. 80.
9. Of importance here is J. Gubler's observationn,;~i;n)e~; ~ti~.~~~
M. Maniera Elia, WUl'iam. Morris e l'-ideologia dell'architett'W'U
moderna (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 1976). isme et IntmnationaUsme dans ['architecture n,
Only the most recent research, particularly that conducted by Suisse (Lausanne: L'Age d'Homme, 1975), p. 147, re~aJtding
young scholars in Germany, Switzerland, France, the United criteria upon which the invitations to La Sarraz
States, and Italy, has begun to shed light, through archival " ... in no case do personal affinities or enmities come
research and rigorous historical analysis, on many of the events A politics of strict rationality is adopted, in accordance
considered to be important in the formation of this myth of the actions of the Zurich Werkbund. It is striking to note"--ll"bll;;h~d.
Modern Movement. Without the pressure to suppmt or dem- majority of the architects invited to La Sarraz have p
onstrate any particular tendency, this research, as a starting
point, has led to a new historiography which does not strive to one of their works,
encyclopedia whether
of the new project or
be in some way "operative criticism" (here this term is used in Interrwtionale neue Ba1tkunst, which first
the sense attributed to it by Manfredo Tafuri in "The Historical at the Weissenhof exposition. This book could very well
Project," Oppositions, 17, summer 1979), but instead claims a constituted a sort of 'useful reference'."
specificity in the knowledge of history independent of any pre- 10. Mies writes, "I am sincerely grateful for your kind
conceived plan, and effects a reinterpretation of traditionally tion, which arrived only a few days ago. Unfortunately
accepted connections and interrelationships. unable to accept your invitation, as I cannot make myself
2. R. Banham, "ClAM," Encyclopedia of Modenl Architecture able for the dates set aside. Yours with the greatest esteem,
(London: Thames & Hudson, 1963), pp. 70--3, perhaps the best Mies." Reproduced in ClAM, Dokumente, 1928-1939, ed. M.
summary of the development of the ClAMs written from the Steinmann (Basel-Stuttgart: Birkhausen, 1979), p. 23.
viewpoint of a general vision of modern architecture. It makes 11. On May 16, 1928, a little more than a month
an early attempt to understand the moments at which the first opening of the Congn~ss, H:iring wrote to Giedion,
Congresses were conceived. enlarged the group of our members that little bit that we thcmglot
3. With the tenth Congress, held in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, in necessary to make it more active .... The outcome has
1956, the ClAMs came to an end as a result of the activities of us right; in that the success that we have enjoyed in Germany
Team 10 (Jacob B. Bakema, Georges Candilis, Gutmann, Alison had been thought impossible when we had limited the 'Ring' to
and Peter Smithson, William Howell, Aldo van Eyck, and John a very small g:r'Oup._ Should an avant-garde emerge from the
Volker) which in 1953, on the occasion of the ninth Congress at participants because of the Congress, it would be equivalent to
Aix-en-Provence, had already exposed their uselessness. See the dissolution of the 'Ring'." Letter quoted in Steinmann,
Team 10 Primer, a special issue of Arch'itectural Design, vol. ClAM ... , p. 22.
32, no. 12, Dec. 1962. 12. See M. Steinmann, "Der VOlkerbundspalast: eine 'chronique
4. See L. Benevolo, Storia dell'architettura made1'na (Rome- scandaleuse'," and S. von Moos, "'Kasino der N ationen'. Zue
Bari: Laterza, 1977 [7th ed.]), pp. 534-7; hypothesis reconfirmed Architektur des VOlkerbundspalast in Cenf," werk-archUhese,
in L. Benevolo, C. Melograni, T. Giura-Longo, La progettazione 23-24, Nov.-Dec., 1978, pp. 28-31 and 32-6; especially see C.
della cittli moderna (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 1977), "Lezione 1," in L. Anzivino and E. Godoli, Gine1'va 1927: il concorso per il
particular pp. 22-3. Palazzo della Sacieta delle Naz'ioni e il caso di Le Cmbusier
5. R. Banham, in Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (Calenzano: Modulo, 1979).
(Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1980), p. 288, writes that the 13. In the German version, paragraph 5 becomes parag1aph 3
maturity of the new architecture "was confirmed at Weissenhof (paragraph 3 of the French text disappears altogether) and it is
when the buildings were seen, and seen to be internationally slightly different: "Academicism induces governments to spend
unanimous in style, and with its international maturity the style great sums for monumental building enterprises and in this way
became explicable, to some extent, in verbal terms, with the 1t favors the survival of work which is rewarded with the neglect
result that Weissenhof triggered off a spate of books by German of the most urgent urbanistic and economic problems." From
authors that aim to deal encyelopedieally with the materials, the the very beginning the two versions were published separately:
history, or the aesthetics of the new style." the German was published in Werk, 9, 1928; Schweizeyische
6. "This settlement marks the moment when contemporary ar- Bauzeitung, 3, 1928, and i 10, 14, 1928; the French in Arq-uitec-
chitects from different countries had an opportunity to show for tum, 112, 1928. On the differences between the German and
the first time, not by words but by building together upon the French versions see below.
same site, that a new approach to the housing problem had been 14. J. Gubler, Nat'ionalisme et lnternationalisme . . . , pp.
developed." 8. Giedion, Space, Time and Architeci1tre: The 145---61, on the La Sarraz Congress; Steinmann, ClAM ... , on
Growth of a New Trad'ition (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Uni- the first five Congresses.
versity Press, 1954 [3rd ed. ]), p. 550. 15. J. Gubler, Nationalisme et lnte1'nationalisnw . . . , pp.
7. See M. Tafuri and F. Dal Co, Mode1n Architectun (New 15&-7.
York: Abrams, 1979), p. 189, in which the Weissenhof experi- 16. In the French version, "Econamie gimtral," and in the Ger-
ment is seen in the light of the more general urban politics of man, "Allgetneine Wirtscha/tlichkeit."
l'his serie~ is explicitly mentioned in the program prepared 1971), pp. 102-12.
e Cmbus1er for the La Sarraz Congress. 31. Cf. Borng-rabcr, "Le Cmbusier a Mosca," p. 84. 575
{. Schmidt, in Beitriige zw Architektnr. 1924-1964 (Berlin: 32. On the competition for the Palace of the Soviets, see G.
Verlag fUr Bauwescn, 1965). Ciucci, "Concours pour le Palais des Soviets," VH-101, 7~8,
..~e Corbusier, "Standardization," second article in the pro- spring-summer 1972, pp. 113-33.
t prepared for the first Congress, quoted in Steinmann, 33. See the special issue of Parmnet1'o, "Da Bruxelles ad Atene:
\1 ... ' p. 18. la Citta Funzionale," 52, Dec. 1976, and Steinmann, ClAM
;teinmann, ClAM ... , p. 30. Le Cmbusier's sentence is ... ' p. 113 ff.
)efense de !'Architecture," Architecture d'A1~jounl'hui, 10, 34. Quoted in G. Fanelli, ATchitettura, edilizia, urbanistfca.
, p. 39, note 1. Olanda 1917-1940 (Florence: Papafava, 1978), p. 505.
n a Sept. 4, 1929, letter to Giedion Le Cmbusier suggested
1g the Frankfurt Congress, which was to begin in a month Figure Credits
1 half, assert that in effect the five planners of the palace of 1 Photograph by Dick Frank.
,eague of Nations had committed plagiarism by copying the 1, 24--26 From Pa.Tametro, 52, December 1976. Special issue
metry of his project. The suggestion was not carried out. on the ClAM, "Da Bruxelles ad Atene: la Citta Funzionale."
ll. Steinmann, Der VOlkerbundspa.last ... , p. 30. See also 2, 3, 5--7, 9, 10--17, 19-23, 27, 28 From Martin Steinmann, ed.,
:orbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Oeuvre Complete 1910-1929 ClAM Dokumente 1928-1939 (Basel-Stuttgart: Birkhauser,
ich: Girsberger, 1967, [9th eel.]), p. 173. 1979).
_le Cmbusier' Prkcisions SW' Wll etat present de 4 From Le C01busier, Om.wre Complete 1910-1929 (Zurich:
hitecture et de l'urbanisme (Paris: Vincent Fral & Cie., Girsberger, 1946).
I, repub. 1960. 8, 18 From Casabella, 463/464, Nov./Dec. 1980. Special issue,
~e Corbusier, "Die Baukunst in Moskau," Neue Zilrcher ''Il dibattito sul Movimento Moderno."
mg, April !J-10, 1929.
:<'or Gropius's account, see Steinmann, ClAM . .. , pp. 56--9.
H. Schmidt's text, see Beitrdge . .. , pp. 83-6 (of the Italian
:::r. C. BorngTaber, "Le Corbusier a Mosca," p. 83.
)ee Steinmann, ClAM ... , pp. 74--5.
)n this affair, cf. H. Meyer's letter to Mr. Hesse, mayor of
.au, published in Da.s Tagebuch, Aug. 16, 1930, cited in H.
Wingler, Da.s Bauhaus (Cologne: Gebr. Rasch & Co.,
nsche and Du Mont Schauberg, 1975, [3rd eel]).
)n the European architects in the Soviet Union sec the most
1t work of C. Borngraber, "H. Schmidt und H. Meyer in
<au," wnk-archithese, 23-24, Nov.-Dec., 1978, pp. 37-40,
M. de Michelis, "Citta funzionale e citta sovietica:
~ossibile accordo" in J.-L. Cohen, M. de Michelis, M. Tafuri,
:s 1917-1978. La Citta., l'architettum (Rome-Paris: Officina-
)UC!Te, 1979), pp. 93-111.
~f. Steinmann, ClAM. . , p. 74.
~e Cmbusier began his lecture: "The question raised by this
~Tess is limited to low, medium, or tall constructions. The
is to be able to change the municipal regulations in the
JUS cities around the world. First of all, I maintain that this
tion represents only part of the general problem of modern
nization. Nowadays comprehensive viewpoints are more in-
~nsable than ever; it would be dangerous henceforth to con-
:ate our attention on a particular argument which new ques-
., raised immediately afterward, would render useless." The
lem, therefore, was not to change regulations, but to for-
te proposals to present the political authority. The lecture
d on this certainty: " ... the specifications must form their
proposals. Authority will spring forth. Let us not be se-
d by a conception that is not in the normal order of things,
is, by the aspiration to an authority that will immediately
al to the technicians." See C. Aymonino, L'ab-ita.zione m-
l.le. Atti dei congTessi ClAM. 1929-1930 (Padua: Matsiiio,

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